Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy have become mainstream throughout the world, but especially in Europe. Resource Efficiency was incorporated in the Leader’s Declaration of the G7 Elmau Summit in June, 2015, whereas “Toyama Framework on Material Cycles” was adopted at the G7 Toyama Environment Minister’s Meeting in May, 2016. Resource Efficiency and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle（3R）efforts undertaken internationally have raised attention to support our discussion today. In Japan, a Circular Society has been a key goal, addressed jointly by public and private sectors, since introduction of the Basic Act for Establishing a Sound Material-Cycle Society and the Act for Promotion of Effective Utilization of Resources, both in 2000. For Circular Society initiatives implemented in Japan during the decades since, this report specifically examines the history and activities of Reduce and Reuse（2R）, and then introduces 2R trends related to the Green Public Procurement Law and Type1 Eco Label “Eco Mark” according to ISO14024 as tool encouraging consumers and enterprises to strive for a sustainable society.
The background of the Packaging Recycling Law and the process of discussion in the establishment and the revisions of this law were reviewed. The Packaging Recycling Law of 1995 is the first law based on the Extended Producer Responsibility（EPR）established in Japan that lead to other EPR based recycling laws for other products such as home electric and electronic appliances or cars. Introduction of the EPR principle in waste management policies in Japan was a fundamental change of the legal framework of the ‘general waste’ management, in which the total or a part of the responsibility for waste collection, processing and recycling was transferred from local municipalities to producers. The underlying causes of the establishment of the Packaging Recycling Law in Japan were（1）declining landfill capacity,（2）increasing difficulty of securing new landfill sites,（3）increasing waste generation,（4）increasing waste management costs, and（5）concerns for resource depletion. Because all of these causes stem from economic growth, thus are structural causes, structural measures were required. The Packaging Recycling Law contributed to a substantial increase of recycling of general waste, however, research on the costs of sorted collection and stock by municipalities revealed two problems, one is the costs borne by municipalities were 250 billion yen which is more than 6 times as much as producers payment, which raised a question of equity, the second is the unit cost of sorted collection varies widely with municipalities, which raised questions of efficiency. In addition, preference for material recycling over chemical recycling of plastic packaging imposed substantial costs for producers, which raised the question if the additional cost is acceptable for the benefit of non-economic effects such as environmental pollutions. To answer this question, the Japan Container and Packaging Recycling Association and government organized three LCA studies, all of which concluded that there is no difference between material recycling and chemical recycling for environmental performance. However, the preference for material recycling has been kept to secure diversity of recycling technologies and instead of abolition of the preference, integrated evaluation was introduced in the amendments of 2006 to improve the quality of material recycling. A new system to donate a half of the reduced costs of recycling with reference to BAU to municipalities from producers based on performance of municipalities in the amendments of 2006. Although payment from producers to municipalities were institutionalized, this amendment does not mean the reallocation of responsibility between municipalities and producers. The Packaging Recycling Law initiated the structural change of ‘general waste’ management in Japan in 1995 when it was established. Since then, three big questions have been raised on the equity of responsibility allocation, on the efficiency of waste management by municipalities, and the rationality of preference for material recycling of plastic packaging. So far we have not reached consensus on any of these questions due to the clear conflict of interests and the lack of opportunity for in depth discussion. It would be preferable to start discussions at a higher level than individual recycling laws.
As a method to recover energy efficiently from urban waste, symbiotic method with industries are mainly discussed in this report. The hybrid industry on their raw material and fuel, which utilizes waste as much as possible as substitute for fossil resources would contribute both the maximization of energy recovery from waste and the promotion of low-carbon transition in industries. To utilize urban waste in industries, two filter systems will be required to keep the quality of the production process in the industry. One function consists of the separation of waste by manual work and/or separation machines to remove foreign matters and the other function consists of pure steam supply from an incinerator of waste to neighboring factories. For the sophistication of energy recovery from urban waste, not only the system improvement in infrastructures for both supply side and demand side of waste but also the social system improvement to give reasonable incentive for the stakeholders would be important. Through the development of those systems, it is possible to get the maximum low-carbon effect from the limited amount of valuable waste.
Objective. The ratio of the population aged 65 years and above in 2015 is 26.7% in Japan. A society in which the ratio of the population aged 65 years and above exceeds 21.0% is called a super-ageing society. A super-ageing society affects not only medical services and social security but also town management and municipal solid waste（MSW）management of local municipalities. This study reviewed the health and cognitive abilities of aged persons and their ability to perform activities such as taking out the garbage and garbage segregation. This paper also discusses concepts of an MSW management system taking into account the future super-ageing society in Japan. Results and Discussion. Firstly, we indicated that the characteristics of aged person are not a uniform state even if population aged 65 years and above is classified as the aged people. Based on a review of the literature, many people aged 64–74 years retain good health, and are able to live their daily lives unaided. This age group is also concerned about environmental issues, which serve as a motivation in their lives. Their environmental consciousness is higher than that of people aged below 64 years. On the other hand, persons aged 75 years and above tend to experience a deterioration in their health and cognitive ability. They experience difficulty performing activities such as taking out the garbage and garbage segregation. Local municipalities have provided support to such persons with regard to taking out the garbage and/or garbage segregation. However, a further increase in the number of such aged persons will result in a change in the amount and quality garbage generated. These phenomena may increase the environmental and economic impacts of the MSW management system. When new MSW management systems are designed based on the precautionary principle, it is necessary to discuss the influence of the amount and quality of the garbage on the systems, and how the system can minimize the environmental and economic impact of these influences. It is also important to take into account the self-help capacity of the aged persons by development of their abilities and assistance from volunteers and residents. Conclusions. This paper showed the necessity to take into account the characteristics of aged persons when local municipalities and/or researchers design new MSW management systems for future super-ageing societies. It is also imperative not to conceptualize the new MSW management systems, including methods of garbage segregation, solely based on existing MSW management systems. It is also important to collaborate with researchers in other research fields, such as gerontology. In conclusion, cooperation amongst researchers of multiple interdisciplinary fields may be able to create new business chances and innovations in the MSW management system.
Based on the lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake, the Japanese government pressed ahead with legal development and formulation of necessary plans, conducted technological and system studies, dispatched groups of specialists, etc. to prepare for the risk of the Nankai Trough Megathrust Earthquake and the Tokyo Inland Earthquake. Case studies show that, even in the emergency situation following a disaster, strict waste sorting helps the wastes to be treated properly and rapidly afterward and the associated costs to be managed at a low level. It is thus vital to build up and share knowledge and experience including the aforementioned practical task, i.e. repeat education and training, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the plans.
Objective of this article is to create sustainable resource management for Tokyo, considering research results from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. First step in creating a sustainable resource management system is to have a comprehensive plan. This plan has to include sustainable procurement for resource efficiency, closed loop recycling, and Life Cycle Assessment. In order to achieve the objective, co-operation from stake holders are necessary. With the best available technology, comprehensive plan, and multi-stakeholder co-operation, we are confident that we can execute the sustainable resource management for 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games and beyond.
Objective. The objective of paper is to explore the international trends of Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy, focusing on the policy development of Europe as well as the work of International Resource Panel and Organisation of Economic Cooperation Development for G7; and then briefly discuss differences from Japanese policy on sound material cycle society. Results and Discussion. The paper discusses that environment and social economic policy have been integrated under the concept of resource efficiency especially in Europe. Integration and alignment of resource efficiency・circular economy policies with climate change policies and economy policy in consideration of investment, financing opportunities as well as social issues will be emerging policy agenda. Conclusions. The paper recommend to consider the above agenda in the development of future resource efficiency・circular economy policies.
Objective. This paper examines the effects of an environmental education program based on Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) for two cohorts of students at an elementary school. The program included lessons on rainwater harvesting, green wall, and natural energy. The goals of the environmental education were to teach students the abilities of critical thinking and projecting the future to promote their pro-environmental behavior. As the effect measurement, a questionnaire study on the students’ critical thinking ability and career decision skills was conducted for both the implementation group and the control group at follow-up, two years after the program implementation was complete. Follow-up studies were conducted for students in three cohorts (Cohorts 0 to 2), who were in middle school at the time. Results and Discussion. The environmental education program was implemented in 2010 for the students in Cohort 1, when a rainwater harvesting system was installed at the elementary school. The students in Cohort 1 received lessons on rainwater over 2 years, when they were in 4th and 5th grade. In 5th grade, a lesson based on LCT implemented. The students in Cohort 2 received a lesson based on LCT about green wall or rainwater harvesting in one of two classes in 5th grade, starting in 2012, and a lesson on natural energy in 6th grade. The lessons based on LCT included explanations about the idea of LCT before information on the amount of CO2 discharged by using the rainwater harvesting system to cultivate the green wall. Both the implementation and the control group in Cohort 0 had no previous experience in an environmental education program. The results of the follow-up study showed that Cohort 1 was the only cohort in which the implementation group had significantly higher scores of critical thinking ability and career decision skills in comparison to the control group. The students in Cohort 1 had received two lessons on the same subject, rainwater harvesting, over 2 years. Conclusions. Two conclusions can be drawn from these findings. First, the students acquired critical thinking ability and career decision skills through learning and understanding LCT. Second, it is important to teach the same subject over 2 years for the environmental education program based on LCT to be effective.